Over the past few days, ASMP has been receiving questions relating to the terms of service imposed by TwitPic on its users and a recent change in that language. After reviewing the Terms of Service published on TwitPic’s website, it is ASMP’s conclusion that TwitPic’s terms of service are contrary to the best interests of photographers. It is also ASMP’s opinion that photographers seeking to post images online, whether for linking in messages through social networking services such as Twitter or otherwise, should look for Terms of Service such as those used by MobyPicture.
MobyPicture’s Terms of Service are short, simple and to the point:
“Content Ownership. All rights of uploaded content by our users remain the property of our users and those rights can in no means be sold or used in a commercial way by MobyPicture or affiliated third party partners without consent from the user.”
In contrast, TwitPic’s Terms of Service grant TwitPic extremely broad rights to license, sublicense and otherwise use uploaded images, whether for commercial purposes or not and whether compensated or not, without any obligation to pay anything to the content owners. Further, TwitPic imposes a requirement on users that they indemnify and hold harmless TwitPic, its officers and employees, against any claims arising out of the use of any content posted on twitpic. Although TwitPic recently posted a blog entry touting the fact that it does not claim ownership of the copyrights in photographs posted to the site, no mention is made of TwitPic’s broad, uncompensated rights grab.
While all ASMP members and other photographers are free to make their own decisions concerning where they post their images, ASMP urges them to look carefully at the terms of service of each website to make certain that the photographers are not inadvertently being deprived of potential sources of income. For more information on that subject, please visit ASMP’s Best Practice Recommendations for Social Networking Sites.
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